Menstrual Cups and Cramps
Keep on reading for the definitive guide to menstrual cups and cramps.
You probably want to know…
Do menstrual cups cause cramps? Can cramps be relieved by wearing a menstrual cup?
There are various questions and confusions about menstrual cups and cramps doing the rounds. Some women are confused if the pain and cramps are associated with their periods, or occurring due to the use of period cups.
The Quick Summary about Menstrual Cups Causing Cramps
You can read more for all the details, but we’ll give you the quick summary about menstrual cups and cramps:
- You may get cramps from a menstrual cup, often because it’s too stiff, too big, long, or not positioned correctly.
- Try switching to a softer, or a smaller one and you’ll often find that that it works better for you.
- Some people over the age of 30 who haven’t given birth vaginally experience cramps with the Diva Cup because they got the large size based on the recommendation from the company.
- The percentage of people who experience pain with a menstrual cup is actually quite low. Most people are unhappy with them because of leaking, not because of pain.
- Despite what companies often tell you, most people find that period cups do NOT relieve cramps. However, this does happen for a small percentage of people.
Cramping: Caused by Improper Menstrual Cup Positioning?
Some women are certain that period cramps are the body’s inflammatory reaction to improper positioning and/or wrong size of menstrual cup. Let’s see some of the most common reasons this might be the case.
Reason #1: Menstrual Cup is too Long
One reason that you may experience pain during your is period is if your menstrual cup is too long so that the stem sticks out of the body. This will certainly be the case if you have a low cervix, but are using one of the longer menstrual cups.
A period cup that is too long can also cause a menstrual cup to push up against the cervix. It’s sensitive, obviously won’t be comfortable, and may result in cramping if it’s pushing too strongly.
How to Check your Cervix Length
You can check the position of your cervix before buying a menstrual cup. Put your index finger into your vaginal canal. Can you touch your cervix?
- If no, then you have a long vaginal canal.
- If with the tip of your finger, then you have a normal height cervix.
- Maybe you can touch it super easily with your finger barely inserted? You have a very low cervix.
If you have a low cervix, we recommend getting a low-cervix menstrual cup. The one that we recommend is the FemmyCycle, Low Cervix Model. It’s the shortest menstrual cup on the market today. It’s also very soft and most women that use it, find it very comfortable to wear.
You can check out this top-quality menstrual cup on Amazon today:
Reason #2: Cervix Position Changes Throughout Cycle
Your cervix position can change throughout your cycle, which is why you might have cramps on one day in reaction to a menstrual cup, and not on another day.
Or, even menstrual cramps from your cup one cycle, but not the next.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about this problem. Do pay attention to this closely though and keep a detailed journal. You might be able to spot some patterns.
Maybe you only get cramps when wearing a menstrual cup on the second day or your period, but not the first and third. If this is the case for a few periods in a row, use this knowledge to your advantage. Wear a tampon on the second day, and a menstrual cup for the fest of them.
Reason #3: Menstrual Cup is too Big = Period Cramps
My menstrual cup is causing cramps!
If you’re a smaller person that hasn’t given birth vaginally, some cups with a large diameter might simply be too big to fit properly into your vaginal canal. Even if you can insert them, these cups that are too big will push strongly against your vaginal canal walls.
In this case, you won’t be comfortable wearing your menstrual cup and you’ll irritate that area, which may cause cramps or pain.
This seems to be a problem relatively common with the Diva Cup. They recommend their larger cup to women over 30, even if they haven’t given birth vaginally. In reality, many of those people who haven’t given birth may actually need a smaller menstrual cup.
It’s for this reason that we generally recommend smaller menstrual cups for people who haven’t given birth, and the large for people that have. Age perhaps isn’t the best factor for choosing a cup.
Reason #4: Menstrual Cramps from Stiff Menstrual Cups
Another reason why you might get menstrual pain from a period cup is if the cup is too stiff. Stiff cups can push very strongly against your vaginal canal walls, which may cause discomfort for some women.
They can also push quite strongly against your bladder, so you may notice that it takes a long time to pee when using something like the Divacup. Is this a big deal? If it’s not painful, no. But, it can cause pain for some people and in this case, you’ll want to switch to a softer menstrual cup.
Now, you may think that everyone should just buy a softer menstrual cup! This isn’t always the best option because these soft cups can be a bit difficult to insert. That’s because they don’t just pop open easily, but you may have to twist them around in order to get them inserted, and to not leak.
Most people do eventually figure it out, but it does take some time and practice to get the hang of it.
However, if you find that a stiffer menstrual cup like the Diva Cup results in cramping for you, consider a softer cup. One of the newer cups that is well designed, soft, and easy to insert is the SckoonCup. The small Sckoon Cup is also very small, making it a perfect option for someone with a small, sensitive vaginal canal.
You can check it out for yourself over on Amazon:
Reason #5: Cramping: The Body Trying to Adapt to a Menstrual Cup?
Others think that menstrual cups can cause muscle spasms due to the body adapting to something new inside of it. Think about it as your body using a new group of muscles that it wouldn’t normally use.
It will take a while for them to get stronger and to adapt to something the size of a menstrual cup inside of you. They are quite big, as you might notice the first time you try to put one in.
If this is the case for you, your body will eventually adapt so keep wearing the cup, as long as the cramps are not too bad. Give your body a cycle or two to see if it gets used to having something like a menstrual cup inside of it.
Most people find that cramps caused by a menstrual cup get better, not worse over a few cycles. Hopefully this is the case for you too.
Get Help Finding your Perfect Fit
If you aren’t sure whether or not you need a small or large cup, or a short or long one, then you’ll need to check out this quiz we put together.
There are five simple questions that’ll take a minute of your time. We’ve put together the information from our handy menstrual cup comparison chart, along with our extensive knowledge from reviewing all the cups and made it work for you.
Check it out here: Menstrual Cup Quiz.
Reason #6: Menstrual Cup Causing Cramps Due to Improper Positioning
One of the reasons why your menstrual cup hurts could be related to improper positioning. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
When you insert a menstrual cup, push it down and back towards your tailbone. Don’t push it up towards the sky. If a menstrual cup gets stuck in front of, or behind your cervix, it can be quite uncomfortable. It should be below your cervix.
A menstrual cup is designed to sit low in your vaginal canal. Don’t push it too high up because it can bump into your cervix and cause pain and discomfort. Insert it just so that the stem doesn’t stick out of you.
The final thing you want to avoid when inserting a menstrual cup is the stem sticking out of your vaginal opening. This is NOT comfortable.
If you find that you can’t insert it without this happening, then trim the stem to make it slightly shorter. This is something that most menstrual cup companies recommend doing if you find that the cup you’ve bought is too long.
Reason #7: The Menstrual Cup is Pushing Against your Urethra
Another reason why you might experience cramps from using a menstrual cup is because it’s causing your urethral tube to become slightly restricted.
Many people have the experience of it taking a long time to pee when using the Diva Cup, other menstrual cup. This is because the vagina and urethra are very close to each other.
When you wear a cup, it can push against your vaginal canal walls, which can restrict the urethra. Most people find that this isn’t a big deal, and they don’t even notice it.
However, a small minority can experience some pain from this, and may associate it with menstrual cramps.
A solution is to use a smaller, softer menstrual cup.
What People are Saying about Menstrual Cups and Cramps
There are several online forums and discussion boards that discuss the occurrence of period cramps while using menstrual cups. Interestingly, a vast majority of people on these forums agree that period cups are highly comfortable.
Most people agree that cramps are not due to using a menstrual cup. Instead, cramps are just a normal body function and aren’t actually related to menstrual cup usage in any way.
However, there are most certainly cases where menstrual cramps have been experienced by people who don’t normally have them, when using a menstrual cup. So, it is indeed possible.
Just be aware that cramps from menstrual cups are not the norm. Most people use them for years without any sort of problems beyond just the regular cramps that they got before starting to use them.
Let’s explore a few of the common reasons why people might get cramps.
Can Menstrual Cups Reduce Cramps?
Menstrual cups and cramps: is there a possible positive effect?
There are quite a few menstrual cup manufacturers who state that menstrual cups actually help reduce cramps. However, it’s usually from the makers of the cheap, not so reputable companies who state that their cup can do a whole host of crazy things, including reducing your menstrual flow.
However, there are also plenty of reports of this from people around the Internet who mention that a menstrual cup helped with their cramping issues, so it should be taken seriously.
But, is it actually true and why would it be the case?
The reasoning behind how a menstrual cup could reduce cramps is uncertain. Our guess is that it may push against the walls of your vagina, disrupting the usual mild contractions that cause cramping. Your cup may also physically not allow these contractions to happen if it’s pushing strongly enough.
So far, there are no conclusive studies about this, so we hope that more research is done. We’d love to know with certainly about whether or not a menstrual cup can reduce cramps during that time of the month.
If you are one of these people, please leave a comment below and share your experience.
Period Cramps: Things that Cause Them
There are many factors that cause cramps during your monthly flow. Some of these include:
• Endometriosis: This is a cramp or pelvic pain, which can last for many days before, and after your menstrual cycle. It can also include abdominal as well as lower back pain.
• Adenomyosis: This is another gynaecological condition that causes cramps and pain.
• Fibroids: Most people develop fibroids of various sizes in the uterus over the course of their lives. These can sometimes lead to menstrual cramps.
• IUDs: Tools like the copper IUD can also be the cause of pain and period cramps. This is especially true if not inserted correctly (always see a doctor experienced in this area to insert it!).
• Etc: Other reasons might include uterine defects and pelvic inflammatory diseases. We’ve put menstrual cups into this category as well because there are a few reports of them causing cramps.
Feeling terrible? Check out these Tips for Being Kind to Yourself During your Period.
Menstrual Cups and Endometriosis
The President of the Associated Pharmacologists and Toxicologists – Mr. Armand Lione, Ph.D., sent a petition to the FDA saying menstrual cups are likely to cause an increased risk of endometriosis and cramps.
Despite noting the rationality of the petitioner’s concern, the FDA refused to act on the petition. This is because there was no clinical data that showed a link between the use of the menstrual cups and endometriosis.
As of 2018, there are still no studies proving any conclusive links between menstrual cups and cramps. While there may indeed be some anecdotal evidence, there is really nothing conclusive to report about this.
Don’t believe the hype about menstrual cup dangers. Overall, they are a safer product to use than tampons when you consider the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome and exposure to toxins.
Prolapsed Uterus and Menstrual Cups
It’s interesting to note that many people who have a tilted uterus do not seem to have any problem when using menstrual cups. Most of the menstrual cup companies note that it may be possible to use their cup when you have this condition, but it won’t work for everyone.
However, in such cases, one has to choose cups of the appropriate size and having the requisite features, as the cervix wall is bound to be high in such people.
In case you have a prolapsed uterus, you may have to consult your gynaecologist before you use a period cup. They can give you some advice on choosing the best menstrual cup for your body type.
Menstrual Cups and Cramps: Actual Users
Perhaps the best source of information about cramps and menstrual cups is from people who actually use menstrual cups. We had a detailed look on Amazon at reviews of the five most popular menstrual cups in the world, The Diva Cup, MoonCup, Lena Cup, Lunette Cup and the Anigan Evacup.
We looked specifically at the 1 and 2 star reviews (out of 5). There are thousands of reviews of these popular products. We couldn’t find a single mention of the menstrual cup having caused cramps. People didn’t like the menstrual cup for other reasons including leaking, difficulty of removal, bad smell, etc.
If this isn’t conclusive proof that menstrual cups don’t cause cramps in the majority of people that use them, we don’t know what is! It certainly convinced us that menstrual cups probably aren’t the cause of the vast majority of menstrual cramps.
Although it is certainly possible that menstrual cups cause cramps for some people, most people won’t experience any problems with this. So try out a menstrual cup for yourself and don’t worry too much about cramps. Anecdotally, there doesn’t seem to be a link.
The takeaway on menstrual cups and cramps: menstrual cups and cramps-no real link as far as we can find.
We’d love additional input on this. Any doctors, or researchers out there with some cold, hard research studies?
My Menstrual Cup Hurts: Should I Stop Using it?
Menstrual cups work well for the vast majority of people. But, in some cases, you may find that you menstrual cup hurts. Is this normal? Should you stop using it?
A menstrual cup should NOT hurt when it’s inside you. You should actually not be able to feel it at all in most cases. If your cup does hurt, it means one of three things:
- It’s not inserted correctly (it may be behind, or in front of your cervix, or it’s maybe flipped inside of you)
- The menstrual cup is not the right one for you (try a smaller, softer one)
- You are unfortunately one of those people who get cramps from a menstrual cup.
So what should you do? Take out the menstrual cup. It shouldn’t hurt. Most people find that they can’t even feel it when it’s inside of them. Try switching to another one.
Any Tips for Reducing Period Cramps?
Cramps are probably the worst part about getting a period. However, there are a few things you can do besides laying in bed drinking wine and eating chocolate to make yourself feel better.
Also Consider the Livia for Period Pain
If you have period pain, you may also want to give the Livia a try. The company calls its machine the “off-switch” for period pain and menstrual cramps.
It’s basically a small machine that emits electrical impulses via patches that you put on your back or abdomen. Does it work? Studies have shown that it does for some people.
Diva Cup and Cramps
There are a number of people who feel that their Diva Cup is causing cramps. It’s not that this situation is unique to the Diva Cup, it’s just that it’s the most popular menstrual cup so it’s often the one that people use for their first cup.
In terms of firmness, the Diva Cup falls right into the middle. Check out this menstrual cup firmness chart for more details. In terms of size, it’s pretty average as well for both the smaller and larger Diva Cup.
Where part of the problem may lie is that the Diva Cup company recommends using the larger one if you’re over 30, even if you’ve never given birth vaginally. Many menstrual cup companies have followed Diva Cup’s lead and given similar advice.
However, in our experience, Diva Cup discomfort is often caused by this situation. Although some people over the age of 30 who’ve never given birth vaginally may need a larger menstrual cup, many don’t. They would actually be much happier using a smaller one.
A menstrual cup that is too big for you will push very strongly against your vaginal canal walls and may cause pain. It also won’t fully open and it will most often leak like crazy. It’s not ideal!
Can Tampons Cause Cramps?
In general, most people don’t find that tampons cause menstrual cramps. They are small, soft and flexible so shouldn’t press strongly against your vaginal canal walls. Even the jumbo ones are not that big when compared to something like a menstrual cup.
However, a word of caution. If you insert your tampon too high, right up below your cervix, it could cause some irritation and pain when it rubs against this.
Or, you could have the opposite problem and insert it too low so that the end is sticking out a bit, which will irritate your vagina’s opening and cause some discomfort.
The best place for a tampon is the same as a menstrual cup: low in your vagina just so that it’s not sticking out. If you have an extremely low cervix, you may find that many tampons are too long for you and this can cause some irritation and pain.
You may be out of luck unfortunately and may want to stick with sanitary pads. The vast majority of menstrual cups are longer than even the shortest tampon so that won’t work well for you either.
All the Details you Need to Know about Menstrual Cups
Before you start using menstrual cups, you ought to have a fair understanding of what they are and how to use them the right way. Keep on reading for everything menstrual cups!
Menstrual cup and its Usage
A menstrual cup has emerged as the preferred sanitary protection product of many people, beating its traditional counterparts such as the pads and tampons.
Period cups are great for the environment and also for your wallet! One of the best things about them is that they don’t come with the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome as with tampons.
These cups are made up of medically approved high-grade silicone (for example, the Lunette Cup), Thermoplastic Elastomer (Meluna Cup) or rubber (the Keeper). This makes them flexible enough to be inserted inside the vaginal canal.
Once inserted, the lid of the menstrual cup opens and fits comfortably against your vaginal wall. It then collects your menstrual fluid, up to 40 ml, depending on the size and brand of product you are using.
Two Basic Menstrual Cup Options
Though different manufacturers offer menstrual cups in different models, marketed under different names, there are basically two types.
One is for people below 30 and the other is for those above 30 years, who have given childbirth. Be aware that even if you’re above 30, you may actually need a smaller menstrual cup if you haven’t given birth vaginally.
When you buy a menstrual cup, make sure to buy the appropriate one that matches your body’s contour and the rate of flow.
You should also follow the instructions for inserting these cups the right way. This helps to avoid any cramps or discomfort. It could take a while to get used to these menstrual cups though.
Ready to Buy a Menstrual Cup?
If you’re looking to buy a menstrual cup, then you’ll need a top-quality menstrual cups manufactured in North America or Europe from medical grade silicone, or TPE.
These companies that stand behind their products and offer excellent customer service. Included with the cup are comprehensive instructions for how to insert and remove the cup, as well as troubleshooting if there is a problem.
These top-quality cups have excellent customer reviews and ratings and most people are very happy with their purchase. Many people who start with something like the Diva Cup for example, end up sticking with it for the rest of their lives.
Or, just head on over to Amazon and check out our top-rated menstrual cup here on this website, the Diva Cup. Manufactured in Canada, it’s the menstrual cup to which all others are compared. Check it out for yourself today:
ALL Regular Menstrual Cups Give you Cramps? Try the Ziggy Cup
Okay, so you’ve tried a few different menstrual cup brands, including a softer, shorter menstrual cup but you still got cramps from them.
In general, most women don’t have this experience with the softer menstrual cups. However, there are some women who find that any menstrual cup gives them cramps.
If this is the case for you, and you don’t want to give up quite yet, there’s one more option you might want to try. The Intimina Ziggy Cup is a new kind of menstrual cup that fits right below your cervix. It’s flat, which can make it suitable for people with any cervix height.
Instead of a cone shape like most other menstrual cups, the Ziggy Cup is a flat flexible disc. It has an entirely different design so may not irritate your vaginal canal walls like the more traditional cups.
It is similar to other menstrual cups in that it’s made from medical grade silicone and can last for at least a couple of years.
Try it out for yourself and see if it works at eliminating cramps from a menstrual cup.
I Have Extremely Painful Periods
If your period pain goes beyond the norm, you could have Dysmenorrhea. Some causes are related to the normal menstrual cycle, where some are related to medical conditions.
You may have pelvic pain:
- All the time
- When urinating
- After sex
- During menstruation
Or have some abnormal vaginal discharge
Treatment for this pelvic pain depends on what is causing it. Please see your doctor for a proper diagnosis, as well as treatment options.
More information here: Dysmenorrea Information.
Have your Say: Menstrual Cups and Cramps
What do you think about menstrual cups and cramps? Do period cups make menstrual cramps worse? Or, alleviate them.
Leave a comment below and tell us about your experience with cramps and menstrual cups, including the Diva Cup.